SALEM — Janis Manning has the magic touch.
The woman should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
For the fourth time, Manning has sold a winning ticket to a big raffle. In the past, she sold prize winners to Ben Arlander (twice) and Julianna Tache for the annual raffle run by The Foundation for Salem Public Education.
This week, she sold the $10,000 prize winner in the Shamrock Sweepstakes, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem. Of the many tickets she sold for the Boys & Girls Club, the winner was split between her sister, Dina Merrill of Chicago, and her daughters, Jessica, 26, and Missy, 25. They are giving part of the proceeds back to the club.
Manning, who helps out a lot of local groups, even dressed up in a green leprechaun outfit to sell tickets. Maybe there is something to that "luck o' the Irish" thing.
It should come as no surprise that Greg Mortenson's talk has been sold out.
The amazing man from Montana, who has built 131 schools (and counting) in Afghanistan and Pakistan without any U.S. government aid, is coming here May 1 to accept The Salem Award.
Tickets for his appearance at Salem High (capacity 750) went on sale about a week ago and are already gone. Mortenson, of course, is hugely popular after the success of "Three Cups of Tea," the New York Times best-seller. His second book, "Stones into Schools," is a current best-seller.
Chairwoman Meg Twohey and the rest of the Salem Award Committee deserve a ton of credit for selecting and landing a recipient of Mortenson's stature.
While on the subject of making the world a better place, the Salem Peace Committee is holding a vigil Saturday to mark their opposition to the ninth anniversary of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and the eighth year of fighting in Iraq.
The anti-war vigil will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at Riley Plaza, right in front of the Post Office.
That's an interesting place to hold a peace vigil. There is a big stone in the plaza honoring John Riley, the Salem man who won the Medal of Honor for cutting the trans-Atlantic cable off Cuba in the Spanish-American War.
If you're looking for a great day for the kids, mark Sunday, March 28, on your calendar. That's the day Salem firefighters and police take off their regular uniforms, put on football shirts and head over to Manning Field in Lynn for a charity flag football event.
Listen to the great match-ups: 9 a.m., Salem Police v. Beverly Police; 10 a.m., Peabody Fire v. Lynn Fire; 11 a.m. Salem Fire v. Beverly Fire; and noon, Lynn Police v. Peabody Police.
The game is more than a week away, and Salem firefighters are already talking smack.
"We don't expect (Beverly firefighters) to be able to give us much of a game," Salem Firefighter Frank DeFranco said. He added, "Make sure you say I said that jokingly."
Tickets are $5, and all proceeds go to the Make A Wish Foundation. For tickets, call DeFranco at 978-804-3784.
If you want a sneak preview, the Salem police and fire teams are holding their first and only practice Sunday at the Salem State College field next to the O'Keefe Center parking lot.
Want to hear a good rumor?
The owner of the famous Black Cow restaurant in Hamilton and Newburyport is looking to open a place in Vinnin Square.
Unfortunately, it's not the landmark restaurant, but possibly a roast beef/sub shop.
Hey, what are we, chopped beef?
The Witches Cup bike race had a heck of a time last year trying to get approval to sell beer on Salem Common, the site of its annual event. When it finally got the OK, all went smoothly.
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival isn't there yet, but it cleared one hurdle this week when the Park and Recreation Commission approved the sale of beer at the August event at Salem Willows. Matt Caruso and Jen Reardon from the Jazz and Soul Festival made the presentation for the festival committee, which has raised thousands for Salem school music programs.
Now the issue goes to the Licensing Board.
Not sure what you were doing on St. Patrick's Day, but the Bremer School of Irish Dance on Canal Street was entertaining crowds at the Celtics-Knicks game. Heather Walker, director of public relations for the Celtics, said they did a great job.
Looking for a terrific musical event this weekend?
The Salem, Swampscott and Marblehead high school choruses get together Sunday for their ninth-annual Together in Harmony concert.
The concert is at 2 p.m. at Veterans Middle School, 217 Pleasant St., Marblehead. Tickets are $10 ($5 for seniors and students).
The three choral directors — Salem's Lianne Goodwin, Marblehead"s Amanda Roeder and Swampscott's James Pearse — have worked on this for weeks with a committee of parents from all three towns. Now that's real harmony.